Calendar October 18, 2016 01:55

Real Alternatives Recognized for Innovation

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Working with the Department of Health and Human Services in several states, Real Alternatives is a charitable organization responsible for administering the Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services program. The program has been recognized as one of the area’s most innovative nonprofit organizations. Real Alternatives was selected as a finalist for its state-of-the-art Automated Program Outcomes Measure. This innovation tracks the results of each client interaction. Because the outcomes are measurable, program analysis is more efficient and accurate, and critical data is available to identify program enhancements.

Sponsored by the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal, the Nonprofit Innovation Awards are held each year to recognize local 501(c)(3) organizations who have demonstrated innovation in their daily operations. Finalists can be selected for recognition in one of five categories including brand identity/unique marketing, management operations, programs, collaboration, and nonprofit leadership excellence.

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Calendar October 4, 2016 00:34

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Employment at a Nonprofit

A nonprofit organization created to support women throughout pregnancy and beyond, Real Alternatives opened its doors in 1996. Real Alternatives relies on an approved network of nonprofit community agencies to help it provide pregnancy and parenting support services for its clients. Over 285,000 women in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan have been provided compassionate care over the last 20 years through these Real Alternatives programs.

Nonprofit agencies, by definition, must provide a particular benefit to the public, and often further educational and or charitable causes. Real Alternatives programs do just that. Funding the work of hundreds of counselors throughout the three states, as well as volunteers, salaried employees serve as the backbone of a nonprofit, facilitating volunteers and creating organization and focus to advance the mission of the cause. For those with government contracts, salaried employees ensure contract compliance, high program performance and accountability for taxpayers.

Nonprofit employee salaries are often less than those of a for-profit counterpart. In cases where the nonprofit employs more than 100 people and involves government contracting, there is more parity in salaries between nonprofit and for-profit jobs. Additionally, despite the tax exempt status of nonprofit organizations, all employment taxes are still withheld from employees' earnings.

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Calendar October 4, 2016 00:30

PANO Standards for Excellence Program


A pregnancy and parenting support organization created for women, Real Alternatives offers services throughout Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana. Within the state of Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives has received three consecutive Standards of Excellence accreditations from the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO).

PANO offers nonprofits in its state the opportunity to participate in the Standards for Excellence program, which aims to strengthen nonprofits’ business practices while furthering their respective causes. In order to help nonprofits operate at the highest level and ultimately achieve accreditation, the program provides resources that assist organizations with implementing the Standards for Excellence code.

Focused on ethics and accountability, the code comprises six guiding principles that incorporate information related to human resources, board governance, financial controls, regulatory and legal compliance, and a number of other areas. To assess the efficacy of different divisions of the nonprofit, the program offers educational materials in the form of training, checklists, and evaluation tools.

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Calendar September 22, 2016 03:14

Placing a Child for Adoption

Pretty Asian woman with city lights in backgroundAt Real Alternatives, experienced and caring individuals are available to help women who are facing unexpected pregnancy. Real Alternatives has the resources to connect these women with professionals who can help them through the adoption process.

Placing a child for adoption begins with a decision. The mother or expectant mother must choose whether she is ready to become a parent, and this can take some time. An experienced agency can help provide guidance throughout this process, but the mother should never feel any pressure.

Once the birth mother has made the decision to place the child, a licensed adoption agency can help her to develop a detailed adoption plan. This includes choosing if and how the mother will receive communications from the adoptive family. The birth mother will also receive assistance in creating a strategy for her hospital stay, deciding what type of adoptive family she would most like, and securing the resources necessary to have a healthy pregnancy.

Although it is not legally mandated for the birth mother to choose an adoptive family, many women find the process rewarding. The agency typically sends profiles of potential adoptive parents and allows the birth mother to select those with which she wants to have a deeper conversation.

The chosen adoptive family often becomes a part of the child’s life right from the start. Adoption specialists contact the family when the mother enters labor, and the adoptive family takes the child home from the hospital. There may be continuing contact with the child, depending on the type of adoption agreed to, but the birth mother is still likely to need strong emotional support after the decision to place her baby for adoption.

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Calendar September 13, 2016 18:16

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Calendar September 13, 2016 17:54

Support Tips for First-Time Parents

African couple holding wishboneReal Alternatives provides a variety of resources to help pregnant women choose adoption or parenting over abortion. Among the many services available from Real Alternatives are pregnancy support and free parenting classes for parents of infants up to 12 months of age.

Caring for a newborn can be overwhelming, especially when the baby is your first. Preparation can help a great deal, particularly if such a process involves infant care classes. Such classes can teach a new parent how to change a diaper, feed and burp the baby, and soothe a crying infant.

It is similarly crucial for you to have help after the baby is born. All new parents must have people to whom they feel comfortable asking questions, whether those people are friends and family or the pediatrician and hospital staff. Loved ones may also ask what they can do to help out, and this is an ideal time to make such specific requests as help with meal preparation or errands.

New parents also tell of the importance of self-care. If you rest when the baby does, and arrange to take a break when you very much need one, you will be more available and will feel better mentally. Finally, if you feel as though your emotions might overwhelm you and put your baby in danger, your priority should be to find safe care for the child and get help for yourself immediately.

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Calendar August 31, 2016 13:29

Republican VP Nominee Governor Mike Pence Endorses Real Alternatives


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Indiana Governor Mike Pence

Real Alternatives is a Pennsylvania-based provider of parenting and pregnancy support services spanning several states. Focused on providing no-cost, confidential counseling and prenatal care education, Real Alternatives emphasizes a life-affirming approach to reproductive health education.

In July 2016, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, the Republican nominee for vice president, appeared on The O’Reilly Factor and made a firm endorsement of pregnancy help organizations that rely on community funding. The context was a question on the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which made abortion on-demand legal across the United States. Pence urged that this issue be decided at the state level and noted that recent pro-life community gains are changing the status quo.

Governor Pence referred to a prominent $1 million pilot program in his state. Operated by Real Alternatives, this program served the needs of nearly 8,500 clients in 2015. The success of the program led to funds totaling $3.5 million being allocated to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families use in 2016. He noted that this funding came as women held senior leadership roles within his state government, with their accomplishments recognized and celebrated.

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Calendar August 24, 2016 14:48

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Calendar August 22, 2016 20:54

Life-Affirming Alternatives for Abortion-Pressured Expecting Mothers

Worship Hands Love iStock_000055467308.jpgProviding cost savings to tax payers, Pennsylvania-headquartered Real Alternatives offers a host of pregnancy support services spanning prenatal care and resources referrals related to sexual health and STDs. Real Alternatives’ successful Alternatives to Abortion Program assists women who select childbirth in receiving appropriate support and medical treatment.

The organization has achieved positive results, with a significant majority of abortion-pressured and abortion-minded women ultimately deciding to keep their babies. One key emphasis is on education with regards to forced abortions, which are illegal under all circumstances. Neither the parent, sibling, family member, physician, nor father of the child, has the right to insist on abortion without informed consent. In addition, performing an abortion without private medical consultation is punishable under the law.

In cases when an expecting mother feels forced into an abortion, even if she is a minor, she has a number of rights. She can refuse to sign documents given by the clinic or parent, which demonstrate agreement to the abortion. She also can inform all clinicians she comes into contact with that she does not agree to the abortion and will sue the facility if an abortion is performed. Other options include contacting the county court house and stopping the abortion through a court of common pleas filing. Any expecting mother who feels pressured to have an abortion can contact 1-888-LIFE-AID to receive confidential, no-cost assistance.

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Calendar August 8, 2016 13:17

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Calendar August 4, 2016 17:29

Real Alternatives – Common Pregnancy FAQs




Real Alternatives directs the Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services programs in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana. As a charitable organization, Real Alternatives has served over 275,000 women in these states since 1996. Women who are expecting or think they may be pregnant can call 1-888-LIFEAID for free pregnancy tests and doctor referrals. Find more information about common pregnancy concerns below.

Q: What should I eat during pregnancy?
A: It is important to stick to a healthy diet and take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy in order to get all essential vitamins and minerals daily. Fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, and foods rich in calcium are important. Additionally, sticking to lean meats, such as chicken and turkey, can contribute to the healthy development of the baby.

Q: What foods should I avoid while pregnant?
A: Any fish with high levels of mercury, such as albacore (white tuna fish), swordfish, and other large fish, as well as raw fish, should be avoided, but cooked fish with lower levels can be eaten in moderation. Unpasteurized cheese and milk, hot dogs, and lunch meat can contain Listeria, which has the potential to cause miscarriages.

Q: How can I ease nausea and vomiting during pregnancy?
A: Move slowly in the morning, and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Also, eat five or six small meals every day to make sure your stomach is never completely empty. Avoiding foods that are hard to digest and getting enough fresh air can also help. Simple carbohydrates such as crackers and potatoes may settle your stomach and ginger snaps or ginger ale can be helpful.

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Calendar June 1, 2016 18:53

Pennsylvania Marks Steep Decline in Abortions Performed Statewide

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Real Alternatives

Currently funding 145 pregnancy support centers throughout three states, Real Alternatives provides reproductive health services, crisis pregnancy counseling, and a variety of other supportive services aimed at empowering pregnant women to choose childbirth. Real Alternatives began in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1996, and has since had a significant positive impact on expectant mothers throughout the state.

Statistics compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of Health recently revealed that the number of abortions performed in the state has decreased significantly since reaching a record high in 1980. The total of 32,126 abortions were performed in 2014 represents a 51.2 percent drop from the record 65,777 abortions that took place in 1980.

According to Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, there are numerous factors that have contributed to the decline in abortions among Pennsylvania women. These include legislative changes, such as the Abortion Control Act, which implemented new requirements for informed and parental consent and established a 24-hour waiting period. Ms. Gallagher also cited social media as a driving force influencing women’s decisions, as well as the rising prevalence of 4D ultrasound technology. In addition, she noted the integral role played by life-affirming organizations such as Real Alternatives, which has provided emotional and material support to over 275,000 pregnant women through Pennsylvania’s Alternatives to Abortion program since 1996.

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Calendar May 22, 2016 18:08

Successful Indiana Pilot Program Leads to Real Alternatives Expansion

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Since 1996, Real Alternatives has strived to provide caring and life-affirming resources to expectant mothers in crisis. Providing assistance with not only healthcare referrals, but also baby food, shelter, career readiness, and education, Real Alternatives has expanded from an initial government-funded program in Pennsylvania to encompass 145 nonprofit resource centers across three states.

In 2014, Real Alternatives partnered with the state of Indiana to launch a pilot pregnancy support program comprised of 16 local pregnancy centers throughout northern Indiana. The $1 million pilot project assisted over 8,400 individuals across nearly 17,000 visits. Following this success, Indiana Governor Mike Pence announced the expansion of the program via a statewide contract with Real Alternatives. Just as it had previously done in Pennsylvania and Michigan, the organization administers the program for the state and uses state monies and/or a percentage of its Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funding to serve expectant mothers at life-affirming pregnancy centers in several communities.

Announcing the broadened program on October 12, 2015, Governor Pence detailed the wide range of services to be facilitated by the newly earmarked $3.5 million. The new Real Alternatives-funded centers will provide counseling and resources to assist with childcare, drug dependence, physical or emotional abuse, and a host of other challenges. Also commenting on the partnership, Real Alternatives President and CEO Kevin I. Bagatta expressed his organization’s excitement at the program expansion, as it will allow them to increase the pool of more than 250,000 women served at their supportive community centers.

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Calendar May 13, 2016 16:03

PANO’s Standards for Excellence Promote Nonprofit Best Practices

pano-logo-as-of-2015For more than two decades, Real Alternatives has assisted women and families by providing pregnancy and parenting support services throughout Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana. A highly regarded nonprofit organization, Real Alternatives maintains accreditation under the Standards for Excellence program of the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO). Real Alternatives, has been accredited with the Seal of Excellence by PANO for the third time since 2002 for successfully meeting the 56 criteria of the Standards for Excellence program.

Based on a national initiative launched by the Standards for Excellence Institute, PANO’s Standar ds for Excellence program is based on the fundamental values such as honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, responsibility, and accountability. Real Alternatives’ programs and services, management, fundraising, and financial practices were examined in depth using 56 criteria before the accreditation was granted.

To become accredited under PANO’s Standard for Excellence program, a nonprofit organization must take part in a Standard for Excellence training program and then create a detailed plan on how it will make adjustments and changes to meet each of the standards outlined in the code. Once the organization has addressed the areas targeted for improvement, a process that can take anywhere from several months to a few years, management can then gather and submit an application and all corollary information and materials needed for an accreditation review.

Although it is not a simple task, becoming accredited strengthens organizations and gives management access to 30 educational resources for continual improvement. Accreditation also promotes trust within the community and can help facilitate fundraising efforts. For more information about PANO’s Standards for Excellence program, visit

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Calendar May 5, 2016 14:31

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The Miracle of Life

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Calendar May 5, 2016 14:28

Calendar May 5, 2016 14:25

Alone? Scared? Unplanned Pregnancy?

Teen girl looking for free and confidential pregnancy support.

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Calendar May 4, 2016 16:05

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Calendar May 3, 2016 12:43

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Calendar May 3, 2016 12:37

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